Quotes from Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

I quoted him once before on intellectual fads and the exclusion from public debates of certain ideas. Here are a few more of my favourite quotes from him:

You're sincere, but in order not to upset your views you avoid talking with people who think differently. You pick your thoughts from conversations with people like yourself, from books written by people like yourself. In physics they call it resonance. You start out with modest opinions, but they match and build each other up to a scale ... - Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

To do evil a human being must first of all believe that what he's doing is good... Ideology - that is what gives devildoing its long-sought justification and gives the evildoer the necessary steadfastness and determination. That is the social theory which helps to make his acts seem good instead of bad in his own and others' eyes, so that he won't hear reproaches and curses but will receive praise and honors. - Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

It's an universal law-- intolerance is the first sign of an inadequate education. An ill-educated person behaves with arrogant impatience, whereas truly profound education breeds humility. - Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Random links

How the GOP Could Use Science’s Reform Movement Against It
Brian Nosek of the Center for Open Science: "Openness and reproducibility may be core to how science works, but they can be misused or turned into ways of pursuing ideological attacks". I think that that's not just something done by the GOP but by all sorts of activists.
Bounded openness: The effect of openness to experience on intolerance is moderated by target group conventionality
"We suggest that tests of the association between openness to experience and tolerance have heretofore been incomplete because they have primarily focused on prejudice toward unconventional target groups. ... People high in openness do appear more tolerant of diverse worldviews compared with people low in openness; however, at the same time, people both high and low in openness are more intolerant of groups whose worldviews conflict with their own."
Faculty jobs are rare, but Canada still needs its PhDs
"by the end of their doctoral studies, only 36 per cent of male and 27 per cent of female students were interested in pursuing faculty positions at research institutions. The myriad calls for the demise of the traditional PhD are premature, however. Doctoral work provides students with critical skills that are key to sustaining and building Canada’s economic, social, and cultural prosperity. A quick look at a university’s graduate degree level expectations for doctoral students shows the PhD is much more than just a thorough understanding of a substantial body of knowledge. PhDs are expected to communicate complex and ambiguous ideas, orally and in writing; to locate, evaluate, and synthesize novel information; and to apply that information in new situations. They learn to work independently, and, in many fields, they learn the value of teamwork as well. They learn to take risks. They learn resilience from failure. They learn how to build on ideas from success. These are exactly the sorts of skills Canada’s workers need in our evolving knowledge-based economy."

Delivery bots

I put together a post about four and a half years ago called What might a future grocery store look like?. It discussed how robots were starting to appear in warehouses - as of January this year Amazon was operating 45000 of them - as well as what a delivery bot of the future might look like. Amongst what I was thinking back then back then:

a substantially lighter vehicle - don't forgot also the weight of a human driver. ... should it be bigger? smaller? (I'm guessing a limited-speed, light-weight vehicle would be easier to get government approval of than running full-size vehicles). You could eliminate most of the parking lot for most grocery stores and, as the vehicles would be operating within a short range of home base electric vehicles might be more feasible.

Now it seems like these delivery bots are getting to the point where you might start to see these things in operation soon. e.g. Postmates and DoorDash are testing delivery by robot with Starship Technologies (the article has an image of these in front of the White House):

Starship’s robots look something like a cooler on wheels. They travel at a top speed of about 4 miles per hour on busy town sidewalks or streets where the company has attained regulatory permission to roll among the people, and make deliveries. They can carry just over 40 lbs. at a time, and are generally programmed to deliver within a two-mile radius in real world scenarios.

Starship’s nearly self-driving robots are also powered by rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, so they’re relatively quiet and clean compared to something like diesel trucks idling on your corner, or the hoopty a driver may use for their pizza delivery job. A human operator oversees the use of the robots remotely through a fleet management app, but they primarily rely on computer vision and street map data to navigate and drop off an item at a customer’s door.

Small. Slow speed so low risk of inflicting serious damage. A relatively short delivery radius. Battery powered. Another article on the same robots:

Starship Technologies’ robots have already driven thousands of miles in cities around the world, and the company even helped get legislation put in place to make the testing possible in Washington, DC. While these will be the company’s first two commercial trials in the US, Starship has already performed deliveries in the UK and Germany thanks to partnerships with services like Just Eat, Pronto, and Hermes.

The second article discusses airborne drone deliveries but for the moment those seem a bit gimmicky to me. I also expect to see more vehicle like the ones below, but those are larger-sized units. I find the little ones more interesting.

Random links

Can You Microwave a Tea Bag That Has a Staple in It?
"Although one dry staple probably won’t start a fire, it can do some damage. 'It will be much the same as running the microwave empty, which could [burn] a hole through the microwave wall,' warns Mats Selen, professor of physics at the University of Illinois." This suggests that the earlier Alton Brown recommendation of making microwave popcorn in a stapled bag is likely to gradually mess up your microwave - the staple suggestion is not on the version on his website although I think it was in one or more of his books.
The ways that student samples differ from the public varies around the world
Henrich's The Weirdest People in the World looked at how American university students (who are often the research subjects in published research) differ from others around the world - now it seems that "the ways students differ from the public is different depending on which country you’re in".
A Traumatized Reader Discusses Trigger Warnings
"The fact is literally anything in the world can be triggering to someone depending on their experiences and illnesses, it isn’t just obvious stuff like rape."


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